Glimpses of an extraordinary run

Glimpses of an extraordinary run

Unfinished: A memoir by Priyanka Chopra Jonas. Penguin Random House. Pages 244. Rs699

Book Title: Unfinished: A memoir

Author: by Priyanka Chopra Jonas

Nonika Singh

‘I am a public person doesn’t mean everything about my life has to be public knowledge. I get to choose what I share and when I share it.” These words, in a nutshell, define the tone and tenor of Priyanka Chopra Jonas’ memoir.

If you are purely looking for juicy trivia, this otherwise readable book is not for you. Sure, she has revealed a few salacious bits, but much of that is already in the public domain by way of news stories. Unlike the story wherein, during her stay in the US, her aunt busted her and discovered her boyfriend in the closet, there are no skeletons tumbling out. Even when she is at her candid best and talks about some of the unsavoury experiences she had to bear with as an outsider in the industry, there is no name calling. And those of you who are wondering whether she talks about her much publicised and insinuated affairs, well, she doesn’t quite brush them under the carpet. Rather, she deals with them as a mature person would.

In the memoir, Priyanka Chopra, married to singer Nick Jonas, doesn’t gloss over her mistakes. Reuters

As the global star, the first India-born actor to headline American network television series, narrates her incredible journey, she speaks in a voice clear and honest. Priyanka doesn’t gloss over her mistakes and has no hesitation in looking back and recalling her faux pas. The Miss World question on Mother Teresa is one of the many discomfiting truths she is ready to look in the eye.

Apart from the refreshing courage to unspool her vulnerable side, she certainly has a way with words and a surefire felicity to create stories. Right from the moment we step into her childhood years, she weaves yarn after yarn of her boarding days, of being the daughter of two Army doctors who ensured that their daughter not only dreams of but reaches the stars.

Interestingly, the woman who wears the tattoo ‘Daddy’s Lil Girl...’ on her wrist like a badge of love comes across as more of a mama’s daughter. The role that her mother Madhu Chopra played, and still does, in the making of Priyanka is indelible, inspiring and relatable. Delightful accounts of how a 17-year-old found her place under the sun courtesy her mother’s spirited guidance exemplify that in ample measure.

Surprisingly, unlike her crowning moments, both as Miss India World and Miss World, which she describes with vivid detail, the same enthusiasm is not perceptible when she recounts her tryst with Bollywood. In a book teeming with anecdotes and personal interfaces in the film world, you don’t learn much about her closeness with others of her ilk; except a couple of mentions like that of Salman Khan and tipping the hat to the Roshans. Besides, by no stretch of imagination is the book a filmography of the actor who has acted/produced over 60 films. She talks about her craft and the hard work that has gone into creating characters like Mary Kom and films such as ‘Bajirao Mastani’, ‘Don’ and ‘Drona’. As for the assessment of her craft, she leaves it to others.

Memoirs are meant to be a personal affair and Priyanka truly comes into her own when she covers personal ground — her life as a teenager, her student life in the US and her family, in particular. Her love, rather adulation, for her parents is more than palpable. At one level, one is tempted to dismiss the book as an ode to her parents. Yet, as one gets engrossed in her retelling of her closeness with not just her parents but extended family, you relate to her as a human being. Finally, when she recreates her romance with Nick Jonas and her fairy-tale wedding, you are as awestruck as this very much in love woman. She may not have addressed the vicious memes that emanated from their age gap, yet, she refers to many a savage troll that has tried to vitiate her public image.

For the naysayers, she has a note in the acknowledgements, which goes: “...made me stronger and pushed me to keep climbing and wanting to achieve more.” With many a feather in her crown, including a deal with Amazon Studios and a project with Mindy Kaling in the offing, the success story of the ‘Quantico’ star is clearly unfinished. But ‘Unfinished’, the book, is by no means incomplete. It gives you a well-rounded sense of Priyanka Chopra Jonas who, as a child, wanted her name on the nameplate outside

the house and now has it emblazoned in global skies.